This blog is part of an online learning platform which includes the Pathways to New Community Paradigms Wiki and a number of other Internet based resources to explore what is termed here 'new community paradigms' which are a transformational change brought about by members of a community.

It is intended to offer resources and explore ideas with the potential of purposefully directing the momentum needed for communities to create their own new community paradigms.

It seeks to help those interested in becoming active participants in the governance of their local communities rather than merely passive consumers of government service output. This blog seeks to assist individuals wanting to redefine their role in producing a more direct democratic form of governance by participating both in defining the political body and establishing the policies that will have an impact their community so that new paradigms for their community can be chosen rather than imposed.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Finding Pathways for Vehicles of Change

This blog post is going to break from the current Systems Practice focus (most recent post first) of the last two blog posts to update the newest resource additions to the New Community Paradigm (NCP) Wiki. This time though it will also tie them to a location on the recently unveiled Kumu based NCP Wiki Map, that was rolled out over four blog posts and which now has a home on both the NCP blog and wiki. If this is the first time with the NCP Wiki Map then there is a tour which provides a general explanation

The NCP Wiki map seeks to develop connections or bridges across sectors. All of the updates in this post are part of or are in some way connected to the Places map but can be followed to Healthy Communities or to Community Ecology

It is the resources, available online, found in the New Community Paradigm (NCP) Wiki that are the vehicles for change. The NCP Wiki Map connotes possible paths that could be taken. The posts of this blog are but one rationale or mental model for taken a particular path or using the suggested vehicles, one among many possible. 

The State of Placemaking 2016, brought more than 450 dedicated public space practitioners, and policymakers to chart the future of the placemaking movement structured around ten major issues that converge in public space,  referred to as “transformative agendas.” Placemaking, as a determining aspect of Places, can be seen as being most comprehensively defined by the Project for Public Spaces (PPS).  

In the NCP Wiki Places map, the circled Project for Public Spaces is seen as arising from Places and being related to the more general Community Places. (double clicking a circled element opens up wiki page, clicking “On Kumu Wiki Map” at top of a wiki page opens up the map). It is the wiki page Community Places that contains the blog posts, near the bottom of the page, seeking to define the developing NCP mental model for placemaking.

Place as Social and Economic Engine was one of the first wiki bridge pages and an early basis for developing a mental model for NCP as defined by blog posts listed at the bottom of the wiki page. It was so named, again as an extension of the correction to the same erroneous presumption underlying placemaking, that the strata of the geographic community below the businesses, city hall politics and those residents connected with city hall were of secondary value. While in truth, it is the created physical attributes of a place that are the dynamic foundation or engine of the community’s social and economic generation.

Place as Social and Economic Engine is the home for Strong Towns, who introduced the newest addition VERDUNITY, a team of civil engineers, planners, and sustainability specialists with expertise in land use planning and zoning, municipal finance, transportation planning and design, stormwater management and green infrastructure implementation, and urban design and placemaking. They started VERDUNITY  because they realized that elaborate, expensive infrastructure projects were making things more economically fragile and unsustainable. This was a disruption in their way of thinking, of their mental models. They are now working on changing other people’s mental models of how they think about the way we have been planning and building our cities and neighborhoods. More will be said about VERDUNITY in a future post.

Place as Social and Economic Engine on the NCP Wiki Map is seen as a bridge between Place and Economics (access between Places and Economics via a link is in the narrative section to the left). 

The newest addition to Planning the Urban Landscape is New Urban Mechanics, a network of civic innovation offices that explore how new technology, designs, and policies can strengthen the partnership between residents and government and significantly improve opportunity and experiences for all. It could have arguably been put under Community Change Agencies but personal choice and only personal was that these programs were more closely related to the existing underlying physical, placemaking, and political infrastructure of a community. The related blog posts, again listed at the bottom of the wiki page, provide some perspectives on a past effort in Los Angeles history to redefine the larger urban landscape. 

Planning the Urban Landscape approaches Places from a broader perspective looking not from the build up of smaller changes over time but the accumulation of those changes overall. It is seen as a bridge between Places and Community Ecology

Under the wiki page Healthy Cities is the recent addition of Bridging Health & Community, an extension of  the previously listed Creating Health Collaborative which aims to transform how we approach health so that it goes beyond institutional healthcare and public health to include fostering community agency, strengthening the field of practice that bridges those in the health sector and those who foster community agency helping to establish the critical link between a community's ability to make purposeful choices and its health. Being able to measure differences in life expectancy by income across areas and then to identify strategies to improve health outcomes for low-income Americans would be a useful ability. Health Inequality Project uses big data to help accomplish this.

The bridge from Places to Healthy Cities, under the Healthy Communities map, is Planning for Healthy Communities. It could also be an element in the Pathways to Healthy Communities map and the Art and Healthy Communities map. Two specially constructed maps that put together a path that incorporated elements that are often placed in silos and considered distinct and separate. 

Taking a higher altitude perspective, the Wiki Bridges Map connects all the New Community Paradigm sectors, including Places, Healthy Communities, and Community Ecology, together. 

A closer look at the pathway for Places indicates that at under the current New Community Paradigm configuration, Healthy Communities and Places are well integrated together but Community Ecology is somewhat isolated. 

Could Bridging Health & Community and Creating Health Collaborative under Healthy Cities be integrated with New Urban Mechanics under Planning the Urban Landscape and extended from Places to Community Ecology integrating the two together more closely?

There are also other deeper pathways that could utilize the online resources found in the NCP Wiki. Under Project for Public Places (click the URL or double click the circled element to open the wiki page) is Agenda Spotlight: Placemaking and Health - Project for Public Spaces.

There is growing evidence showing that place impacts people’s health on multiple scales. From obesity and chronic disease to depression, social isolation, and increased exposure to environmental toxins and pollutants, the world faces very different health challenges today than it has in the past, and many of these challenges are directly related to how our public spaces are designed and operated.

It could be an important component of the Pathways to Healthy Communities map and naturally be expanded to be encompassed by Community Ecology. How it is used could be determined in a number of different ways depending upon the needs of a particular community. 

It is believed though it has not been adequately examined that finding specific potential pathways for the utilization of online resources will greatly help in the development of new community paradigms. 

Past Posts